Friday, October 3, 2014

Sweet baby thanks

This post is a little late.  Two months ago, our youngest son was born.  Our household has been readjusting since.
It's crazy how much one tiny little person changes everything.  My husband and I are old pros at babies at this point, but this newest arrival still turned our lives upside down.
We didn't have a baby shower like we did with previous kiddos.  I'd been procrastinating getting rid of all my baby stuff from my toddler.  So when we found out I was pregnant again last November, I just stacked it all in a corner of the garage.  So, aside from infant clothes and a special "home-coming" outfit, we pretty much had everything we needed.  But we were still blessed by family and friends with a few small gifts for our new little one.
So, when I got a chance, I slowly made this card as our "Thank You's".  I got the pattern from the Make it from the Heart program and found the inspiration from an old Idea Book (those things certainly are handy to keep around).  It took me a couple weeks to get them all done.  And once they were finished I was so excited I had to share them with you all.

I used the expired Babycakes paper pack (that "baby, baby, baby" strip is actually the zip strip from the top of one of the pages).  I think it turned out super-cute and it was SO easy to put together.  90% of the card is plain old paper!  The only embellishments I added are the gems, the stamped sentiment and the glitter ribbon peeking out from behind the sentiment (which I pop-dotted to create a little dimensionality).

Hope you like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Fall, Ya'll!!!

Oh, my goodness, I love fall.  It is my favorite season of the year!  I love everything about fall.  I love the festivals.  I love the food.  I love the holidays.  (Hello Halloween!  Not only is it my favorite holiday of the year, it is ALSO my husbands and my oldest sons birthdays!  How's that for special?)  I love the weather.  I love the fashion.  I love the crispness of the air.  I love the changing colors of the leaves.  Can you tell it's my favorite season?

So to commemorate my favorite season, holiday AND birthdays of my two favorite men, I'm giving away FREE product!!

Anyone who places a $50 order on my website here during the month of October will be entered into a drawing to win $25 in FREE product of your choice out of our new Annual Inspirations catalog!

Hurry and place your order today to get your shot to win!  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Picture My Life

I am lucky enough to be a part of an AMAZING group of scrapbookers.  They are a crafty, supportive and collaborative group of women that it has been my absolute pleasure to get to know.  Getting together with them is my one release from the demands of my home life and I cling to it like a shipwrecked victim to a life raft.  We get together 6 times a year and put on the BEST crop in the Memphis area.  Seriously.  If you live here, ever visit the area, or just want to come in and join in the fun, click here to check us out and sign up.  

We use the gymnasium of one of our local churches and we are always blessed when a representative of the church wants to share with us before we start our day-long event.  (Not being overly religious, I usually use this time to commune quietly with my own higher power.)  But at the last crop, we had an elder of the church grace us with his wise words.  He credited us with being the "Memory Keepers" of our prospective families.  (As his wife is a member of our scrapbooking family, he feeds her addiction and happily understands the release for her and the benefits of her passion to their family.)  That one phrase - memory keepers - struck home for me.  That's what scrapbooking is all about.  Keeping the loving memories of my sons' childhoods alive.  And I am an avid picture taker.  Especially now that my camera is so conveniently attached to my phone - and I carry my phone with me everywhere.  My boys see that phone come out and they assume their respective positions, lol.  My now-teenager hides his face or runs and my toddler smiles his biggest smile.  My teenager used to smile big for the camera, so I know one day my toddler will also be hiding his face.  Right now the baby is either sleeping or screaming.  But he'll learn.

Picture My Life is the PERFECT scrapbooking tool for beginning memory keepers, and it fits that it's the current Constant Campaign!

The Picture My Life programs are PERFECT for the beginning Memory Keeper.  The "programs" come with pre-designed cardstock cards that you just slide into the page protectors next to your photos and Voila! In ten seconds, you have fully designed scrapbooking pages that were as easy to assemble, as the pictures you took to put in them!

Picture My Life has 13 different programs to choose from - both current AND retired paper packs.  Each program comes with 122 cards, a cover sheet and 10 page protectors.  Then on top of that, you can get another 10 pack of page protectors for only $3!!  And the cards are ADORABLE!  And fully designed.  And double sided.  And they already have sentiments on them.  Or they have journaling spots where you can write your own sentiments.  And they make beginning scrapbooking a breeze.

And I've come to learn how important scrapbooking is.  It's not just something I do to decompress (although, that IS one of the reasons I do it - in addition to my joy of crafting, the loving fellowship of like-minded women, and the love I get to spread to my friends and family through my hand-crafted cards and paper gifts).  It's also keeping the loving memories of my children's lives alive.  And the memories are very loving.  It's the greatest gift I can give them.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The benefits of Bling

I have a secret.  I am NOT a girly-girl.  I'm a really simple chick.  A jeans and flip-flops kind of girl.  If you were to see me out, I'd be barefaced, hair up in a claw clip and the only "accessory" I'd be sporting (aside from my impossibly cute kids) would be my wedding ring.

So, when I'm making cards, I can bang 'em out when I'm following the patterns in my Make It From Your Heart booklet.  (Another reason I love CTMH - they put their how-to patterns in the easiest format to follow!)  But once the pattern is complete, I feel like something is missing.  The cards need bling.

Embellishments, to be exact.

Take this card, for example.  

I made this card for my mom and step-dad.  That lucky couple is getting to live out their dream retirement right now.  They bought a travel RV and meandered across this great nation of ours as they packed up their house in the Frozen North and moved down to the desert of Nevada.  This is an exact copy of the pattern I used from our Make It From Your Heart how-to booklet.  And while it is adorable, it feels unfinished to me. 

I like simple, but I like refined simple.  I want the recipients of my cards to feel like I really put thought and effort into personalizing the hand made cards I give them.  I won't give a card that doesn't feel "finished" to me.

So taking the basic card above, I just added a few simple pieces to make it feel more finished.  I added the Twilight cardstock under the sentiments and edged all the pieces in Chocolate ink.  Then, I stamped the RV image on two pieces of patterned paper, cut them out and adhered them over the original stamped image (a technique called "paper piecing").  As a final touch, I added Chocolate pearls (now-retired) to the upper left corner of the card and also over the wheel of the RV. 

It doesn't scream "overly embellished" to me, but those few small, simple touches take it up the few notches it needed to feel complete. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

National Scrapbooking Month

My creative time is exceptionally precious these days.  I have two months to go in my final pregnancy (which makes me a little sad to admit) and I have a very active two-year-old who wants to "help" me when I sit down to create.

Today is a gorgeous day outside.  It's sunny and cool with a slight breeze - the perfect day for an 8 month pregnant lady to spend outside without getting too over-heated.  So I decided to spend the morning running his little tail ragged outside so he would take a good nap and I could get some creative time in.  Well I did such a good job, I got to make this card in under 30 minutes - while he was watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

I am SO proud of this card!!!  I love how bright and cheerful it is, I love how quickly it came together and I LOVE how it makes me smile just looking at it. 

I can't get enough of the National Scrapbooking Promo - Free To Be Me.  The B&T papers are so happy and I love that all the cardstock pieces are embossed on one side!  I love the dimension embossed papers make to the finished product.

The pattern is from Make it from the Heart #1, our new Durables Triangle Studs, and the sentiment is stamped from our Give a Lift stamp set.

See how bright these papers are???  Make sure you get yours by May 31st by placing your qualifying order of at least $50.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Washi tape!

So, here's what our gold polka-dot washi tape looks like.  Isn't it pretty?

At first I didn't get the whole "washi-tape" craze.  I thought it was just patterned painter's tape that people were just haphazardly throwing all over their paper projects without rhyme or reason.  But I get it now.  And I love it.  It's amazing little stuff.  And it lasts FOREVER!  (Which is awesome.)

Today, my little guy got a hold of my gold polka-dot washi tape.  We were in the backyard and he was wearing himself out on his jungle gym, so I thought it was the perfect time to pull out the embellishments I plan on selling at our next Girls' Day Out crop in July.  My son thought it was a great idea, too.  Only he didn't want to help me price any of it, he wanted to help me play with it.

He pulled off a strip of one of my opened washi tapes (it had fallen in with the unopened embellishments by mistake) and decided to embellish himself with it.  He was pretty cute running around the backyard with this little strip of washi tape stuck to the back of his shirt.

Until he got a hold of the whole roll.  Then the unthinkable happened.

This is one of my son's favorite toys in the backyard.  My husband does crossfit training and he uses this old, battered tractor tire in his workouts.  He flips this enormous thing back and forth across the back yard as one of his exercises.  When it's not in use, he leans it against the fence. 

And when it rains (as its done for the past few weeks), it collects water and turns into a snug little baby pool.  My son climbs into it and splashes in it.  And throws everything in the world into that nasty water.  Which is right where my roll of gold polka-dot washi tape went.  It was like a slo-mo reel from a horror movie.  I watched him, frozen, as he raced across the back yard at a break-neck speed.  Headed straight for that tractor tire.  Laughing is sweet little baby laugh.  Then he raised his arm and launched my washi tape into that dirty, rain-filled mess. 

I finally got my big, lumbering body up off the step and fished it out.  It was soaked!  I stood there, shaking the water off, praying it would dry.  That the stickiness wouldn't be ruined, that the gold pattern wouldn't flake off, that I could still use it to embellish my cards and projects.

I had to run back across the yard to rescue the rest of my stash from his grabby toddler-fingers.  I didn't want anything else falling prey to the rain-filled tire.  My stash got put away and the washi tape got put out in the garage - away from the sun, right in the path of a constant cross breeze. 

I'll leave it out there for the rest of the day, praying that it dries.  If it doesn't, I suppose, I'll be holding a memorial service for it. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother's Day

The other day I looked up the origins of Mother's Day.  (Just cuz I was feeling super-nosy.)  Back in 1905, Anna Jarvis started this movement to honor her mother.  Anna's mom was this kick-butt chick who had lived her life in service to others.  She was a peace activist who nursed soldiers on both sides of the Civil War.  President Wilson signed into law that the second Sunday in May would be "Mother's Day" and celebrated nationally.  It wasn't long before the card and candy companies started capitalizing on this and marketing Mother's Day to their own financial ends.  (As they sometimes like to do.)  That really ticked Anna off.  She even went ballistic - crashing a candymaker's convention in Philly in 1923.  All she wanted, was for each of us to take pause for one day a year and honor the women who brought us all into this world.  Who had selflessly lived their lives in service to others - us, their children. 

As a mom, I appreciate this.  I naively thought when my first child was born, that I was going to be one of those moms who didn't let their child change them.  That my life would still be my own.  I quickly found out how impossible that was.  For the past 13 years, I have willingly put the needs of my children ahead of my own.  I've put their wants first.  Nursed their hurts.  Celebrated their successes.  Cried in private, for pains that I couldn't remove.  Gone without sleep - or bathing.  Watched the same program 100 times in a row.  Fought for doctors appointments and diagnoses.  Argued with school officials for programs my son needed.  With the birth of my first child, I did not just become a mother.  I became a warrior for my children. 

In their youth, it's easy.  They're your babies and they need you to advocate for them.  They need your strength to build their own backbones on.  They need you to teach them morals and values and compassion.  To show them how to live a good, responsible life.  To catch them when they fall.  To salve their boo-boo's with your kisses and loving mom-arms.  With my teenager, I'm walking a much harder road.  It's hard now, when to know to step in and protect him, and when to let him step up and protect himself.  Watching my baby wobble out there on his own two feet and experience the world first hand - and not through the eyes of a child - is 10x more difficult than teaching him how to walk or talk or use the toilet.  You can't do all that without undergoing a complete metamorphosis. 

So, in honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, I made this card.

However you choose to spend Mother's Day - either for yourself or that lucky chick who brought you into this world - remember to breathe it all in.  Your children as they are today.  Perfect, just the way you made them.

Happy Mother's Day.